SEMA News—September 2020

Update 2020: Association Priorities and Strategic Agenda 

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

SEMA is a member-driven organization that is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by member companies. In this way, the industry guides its own strategic direction, sets priorities, and balances goals and opportunities.

Board members work closely with the executive staff to consider how to help members and, ultimately, the industry. Even as the COVID-19 disruption unfolds, the Board continues to stay on course, and the staff continues work to accomplish the vision.

Because SEMA has successfully built reserves over the years to sustain programs during lean times, the annual budget is appropriately lean while also allowing the organization to maintain program continuity and allow for strategic investment. One of those investments will be to replace the Product Management Information System (PIMS) for the SEMA Data Co-op.

It’s no secret that online sales have become a key driver of commerce in past months, and the expectation is that the trend will continue. Adding an improved, user-friendly PIMS to help more companies create and deliver high-quality digitized product information makes sense for our industry, and now is the time to do it.

A second major initiative is aimed at the racing segment. A number of years ago, SEMA acquired the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show and its publications. That was a first step. Now the Board is leading efforts to help motorsports racing grow and succeed. We are doing that by offering racing businesses, tracks, racers and enthusiasts the kind of association services, tools and government advocacy that SEMA members have enjoyed for many years.

SEMA recently hired a seasoned executive—Dr. Jamie Meyer—to head up the PRI division and open a new PRI office in Indianapolis.

The PRI team is already working to provide assistance to the racing industry during the COVID pandemic and to track owners and operators as they work to restart their businesses. Look for more from the PRI team in the coming months.

On the vehicle-technology front, plans to establish a SEMA Garage in the Detroit area are moving forward. Meanwhile, SEMA’s first-ever virtual Detroit ADAS Forum and Vehicle Review brought together 15 leading expert speakers and members and demonstrated a new way to engage and learn.

Back in Diamond Bar, the SEMA Garage has been fully operational for emissions testing, 3-D printing services and Tech Transfer activity. A new Mustang is among the vehicles recently acquired for scanning and product development purposes, and a horsepower dyno has been installed.

Along with these long-term programs, the day-to-day work of the association goes on. There has been much activity focused on assisting members with COVID-related challenges—developing and updating a dedicated site for members to access information on federal and state regulations and other resources to navigate the pandemic.

Overall, the Board and staff see these challenging times as a moment when the association can step up to help members and move forward with initiatives that will help the industry the most. Just as we all did during and after the recession, we’re confident that our industry will once again persevere, innovate, and thrive.

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